Monday, November 5, 2012

America's Team: 2012 Midseason Report

Heading into the season (Dallas Cowboys 2012 Season Preview), I was admittedly pretty optimistic with the direction of the franchise and the strides the team appeared to be taking. My prediction of 9-7 is not a particularly great record, but I understood it was ultimately another transition year for the team. With that being said, I believed that the Cowboys were going to be smarter, tougher, and more disciplined under the leadership of both Jason Garrett and Tony Romo in 2012.

I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

After eight games, Dallas is nothing more than a mediocre ball club that has actually taken steps backwards in some areas. Sitting at 3-5, the season may arguably already be lost -- and in the best interest of the team and its fans, I believe it should continue to lose. I was extremely upset and disappointed in 2010 when the team went 1-7 in their first 8 games (mainly because of Romo's injury) but proceeded to "finish the season strong" and lose out on drafting Patrick Peterson -- a dynamic, game-changing playmaker at the cornerback position.

Fast forward to today and this is the current state of the Dallas Cowboys:

Tony Romo has 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Coach Garrett's inexperience and poor time management has repeatedly cost the team. Dez Bryant suddenly has alligator arms and is dropping balls. The expensively revamped secondary can't produce any takeaways. There are still way too many pre-snap penalties. The rushing attack has been nonexistent (sans the Baltimore game). There is nothing special about the return game (when was the last time the ST scored a touchdown anyway?).

I could go on and on, but I'm trying to not get too negative.

With early injuries to Jason Witten (Romo's favorite target), Jay Ratliff (the team's best interior defensive lineman), Barry Church (starting safety), Demarco Murray (starting running back), and Sean Lee (one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL), it has simply been too much for the team to overcome.

But at the end of the day, making excuses is a loser-ish way of thinking. You either perform or you don't, and unfortunately there are too many disappointments in every facet of the team -- management and coaching staff included.

Cowboys fans, it's been 17 years since our last championship. We may still be America's Team in title, but the current generation of kids who are growing up and watching football today honestly has no idea of those dominant Cowboy teams of the mid 90s. We competed in four Super Bowls in the 70s, and that's why we became the face of the league. Then another three in the aforementioned 1990s, which ended up being timed perfectly for the proceeding generation of NFL fans. Thus, the momentum just continued to build and build from there. This is the reason the franchise became the most popular team in the league (and currently the 4th most valuable sports franchise in the world). Unfortunately, if the Cowboys don't win soon, the brand will eventually lose its luster.

I could have named many more than three busts, but I don't want to get too depressed.

Top 3 Performers:

1. N/A

Nobody is worthy of this spot. Sean Lee was definitely on his way to becoming the defensive leader and playmaker the team sorely needs, but his season-ending injury in week 6 took him out of the running. To me, he was the one guy the Cowboys couldn't afford to lose on the defensive side of the ball.

2. DeMarcus Ware

DeMarcus constantly sees double teams week in and week out (because of the Rob Ryan-led defense's ineptitude in producing quarterback pressure), but he is still on pace for 15+ sacks. You can basically pencil him in for a sack every game. That is consistency.

3. Jason Witten

Witten had a miserable start to the season partly because of his spleen injury, confidence issues, and forgetting how to block his man without having to hold. But, he quickly turned it around and has broken the team's all-time receptions record in the process. Congratulations.

Top 3 Busts:

1. Tony Romo

A. You can't have more interceptions than touchdowns. You just can't. Especially since you're in your 8th season as a full-time starter. Romo is not that young guy with a ton of potential anymore... he's 32 years old and has already peaked.
B. But when you do throw an interception, they can't be pick 6's. At least give your defense a f-ing chance.

2. Doug Free

After getting PAID in the offseason, he has proceeded to thank the organization by committing as many false starts and holding penalties as he can. No doubt, Doug Free has been the biggest disappointment on both the offensive and defensive lines.

3. Dez Bryant

I would like to start by saying that I am a huge Dez fan. I think he is one of the most talented players in the league. But his inability to focus throughout the entire game and his recent drops problem has really hurt his confidence. Basically, he has lost the swagger that makes him a special player. I just don't see the guy that fights for balls or makes people miss anymore. I used to blame his lack of production on coaching, play calling, and Romo, but maybe he just doesn't get it. Maybe he doesn't get how good he can be, and most importantly, he doesn't understand how hard you have to work to get there.

Looking to the second half of the year, it doesn't get any easier. Dallas still has two games against Vick and the Eagles (who are also underperforming), two games against the explosive RGIII and the Redskins, a tough game on the road in Cincinnati, and home games against Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more Steelers and Saints fans in Cowboys stadium during those two games.

With that schedule, a 4-4 finish would be considered a successful 2nd half to the year. But like I mentioned earlier, I would rather go 0-8.

I am definitely feeling those Cowboys blues.

Photo and video content courtesy of,


Another year wasted. The window that Parcells built officially closes after this season IMHO.

Good article, very honest assessment. Injuries are definitely an issue, and there have been flashes of brilliance in the NY games and against Baltimore. I'm sure it's even worse now that Houston is trending up!

GM deserves a lot of blame. Cows spent on glamor positions but fail to upgrade a bad o-line that is getting worse with age and injuries.

GW, great point. The game (especially in November and December) is decided in the trenches.

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